Navigating the Journey: The Power of Music

Navigating the Journey: The Power of Music

Anette Urban is the Memory Care Program Coordinator at The Summit At Plantsville in Connecticut. She has been in the profession for many years, and it hit home as her mother, Birgit, was diagnosed with Dementia in August 2023. She shares her experiences and knowledge with the disease every month, writing about a different topic or subject surrounding memory care and how she is Navigating the Journey.

Music has long been known as a universal language, capable of transcending boundaries and evoking emotions. For individuals living with dementia, music can be a particularly powerful tool, offering a sense of comfort, connection, and joy. Research has consistently shown that music can have a profound impact on people with dementia, improving their cognitive function, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.

Anette and her mother, Birgit

One of the most significant benefits of music for people with dementia is its ability to spark memories and emotions. Music has a unique ability to tap into the brain’s emotional and memory centers, often recalling memories and feelings long thought forgotten. This can be especially meaningful for individuals with dementia, who may struggle to recall recent events or conversations. Music can help bridge this gap, providing a sense of familiarity and connection to their past.

I have often seen the effect of music with my own eyes. I have witnessed how people who are no longer capable of language start singing along to their favorite music. Knowing all the words. Or people with little or no movement tapping their foot or finger to the music. The signs may be very subtle, but they are there if you look.

In addition to its memory-boosting effects, music has also been shown to have a calming influence on people with dementia. Agitation, anxiety, and aggression are common symptoms of dementia, and music can help alleviate these feelings, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. This can be especially beneficial in care settings, where music can help create a peaceful atmosphere and reduce the need for medication.

Music can also play an important role in social interaction and community building for people with dementia. Singing groups and music therapy sessions can provide opportunities for socialization, helping individuals connect with others who share similar experiences and interests. This can be especially important for people with dementia, who may feel isolated or disconnected from others.

Furthermore, music can be a valuable tool for caregivers and family members, providing a way to connect with their loved ones and share in meaningful experiences. Music can be used to create a sense of togetherness, even in the face of cognitive decline.

Incorporating music into the lives of people with dementia can be simple and accessible. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Create a personalized playlist of favorite songs and artists
  • Attend music therapy sessions or singing groups
  • Play music during daily activities, such as mealtimes or bath time
  • Encourage caregivers to use music as a tool for connection and comfort

In conclusion, music offers a wealth of benefits for people with dementia, from sparking memories and emotions to promoting relaxation and social connection. By harnessing the power of music, we can improve the lives of individuals with dementia, providing comfort, joy, and a sense of connection to themselves and others.

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June 4, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring